Ryan Michael found his calling at a young age.
“I think the first time I ever saw a trick was David Blaine on television with his first special. Me and my dad watched it,” Michael said. “I think we must have watched it 100 times or more, just watching every little thing that he did. And it was amazing. It totally hooked me right away.”
Michael has been practicing magic for about a decade, with six of those years performing professionally in front of audiences across the country.
“The whole reason that I do magic, aside from creating a connection with people, is that one moment where your brain disconnects from reality and has to think about what just happened,” Michael said.
As a child growing up in Jasper, Alta., there was no magic school, no Hogwarts, to attend to learn how to become a magician.
“You kind of have to do it yourself and with the help of other magicians,” Michael said. “Once they find out you’re really passionate about it, that you’re not just in it for the secrets, they help you out. It’s a very close-knit community.”
Nowadays, Michael is busy collecting international awards for his illusion shows, including Pacific Coast of American Magicians Close-up Magician of the Year 2017 and Mentalist of the Year 2017.
“I practice a trick for about a 1,000 hours before I show it to anyone,” Michael said. “Because all of us magicians have taken a trick out to the real world thinking it was ready, did it and failed. It’s the worst thing ever, so you don’t want to mess up a trick live.”
For this reason, Michael is taking his time now, embarking on a multi-year process of preparing to audition for America’s Got Talent.
“That’s about a two-year plan,” Michael said. “The best way to do it is to just get out in front of an audience and go test your material and do magic for as many people as you possibly can.”
But is it an illusion or is it actually magic?
“I think magic is in your own brain as much as anything. You need an audience and, as soon as you make that connection with an audience member, that’s when the real magic happens,” Michael said. “And for me, it’s all about creating that one moment of mystery, that moment of astonishment.”
Ryan Michael performs regularly around the Okanagan. His next public magic show is on Feb. 2 at Dakoda’s Sports Bar and Grill in Kelowna.